Giants Passing Game Off To Good Start

Roger HarfordCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants runs in a second quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Coming into the season, many experts questioned whether the Giants receivers would be effective enough to give the Giants a chance to win.

Well that question was answered on Sunday.

The Giants passing game was just fine in their 23-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

Eli Manning routinely had an open receiver to throw to.

Whether it was veterans Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith or rookie Hakeem Nicks or tight end Kevin Boss, there seemed to always be someone open downfield.

And on the rare occasion that there wasn't, Manning was able to dump the ball off to Brandon Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw.

As expected, Steve Smith was the Giants most targeted receiver, catching six passes for 80 yards. Smith was able to shake coverage seemingly every play, despite lining up on the edge most of the day. Smith has shown throughout his career he is more comfortable as a slot receiver.

But Manningham caught Eli's only touchdown pass of the day, a 30-yard reception on a wide receiver screen. Manningham finished with three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

If Manningham can be the receiver he was while at Michigan and become a reliable pass catcher, it will help the team tremendously—not just because of what he would do, but also because it would allow Smith to move back to the slot.

Rookie Hakeem Nicks also added two catches for 18 yards before leaving his NFL regular season debut with an ankle injury.

Eli Manning was very efficient, completing 69 percent of his passes for 256 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

At this point in his career, no one is expecting Eli to be Peyton. Eli isn't a quarterback who is going to put up record breaking numbers.

Eli has become more of a game manager, which is perfectly fine. As long as he controls the ball and the clock, the Giants passing game will be more of a strength than a weakness.

They key to the passing game was the offensive line though. They have been playing together for a long time now and work very well as a unit.

Manning rarely had to deal with pressure from the defense, even with newly signed Albert Haynesworth on the line.

Without any pressure, Eli was able to take his time to find the open man.

If the Giants are able to repeat Sunday's performance throughout the season, they will be a very tough team to beat.


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